Mohandas Gandhi: The Mahatma Essential Question: How did Gandhi’s non-violent protest impact India?
“ My life is dedicated to service of India through the religion of non-violence which I believe to be the root of Hinduism. The religion of non-violence is not meant merely for the riches and saints. It is meant for the common people as well.” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
What do you already know about Mohandas Gandhi?
The most important political and spiritual leader in achieving independence for India was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—The Mahatma (The Great Soul).
He was born in India in 1869.
He is honored by the people of India as the father of their nation.
Gandhi’s life was guided by a search for the truth.
He believed that truth could be known only through tolerance and concern for his fellow man, and that finding a truthful way to solutions required constant testing.
Gandhi overcame fear in himself and taught others to master fear.
He believed in nonviolence, but he also held that violence is better than cowardice.
He lived a simple life and thought it was wrong to kill animals for food or to use their hides.
Gandhi developed a method of direct social action, based upon principles of courage, non-violence, and truth, which is called satyagraha (civil disobedience) .
In this method of passive resistance, the way people behave is more important than what they achieve.
Satyagraha was used to fight for India’s independence and to bring about social change.
Gandhi was arrested many times by the British for creating unrest, but his efforts brought important reforms.
In 1930, Gandhi led hundreds of followers on a 200 mile march to the sea, where they made salt from seawater.
This was a protest against the Salt Acts, which made it a crime to possess salt not bought from the government.
During World War II, Gandhi continued his struggle for India’s freedom through non-violent disobedience to British rule.
He was often treated like a third-class citizen.
He was jailed for the last time in 1942.
Altogether, he spent seven years in prison for political activity.
Gandhi’s non-violent protest led to India gaining independence from Great Britain in 1947.
In 1948, at the age of 78, while on his way to a prayer meeting, in New Delhi, Gandhi was assassinated.
A high-ranking Brahman, who feared Gandhi’s program of tolerance for all creeds and religions, shot him three times.
His beliefs and actions have inspired civil rights movements across the globe.
He is an icon of world peace.
His birthday, 2 nd October, is commemorated worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.